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Bill proposes expungement expansion

Across the country, many states continue to legalize the use of marijuana for medicinal and for recreational purposes. Wisconsin law remains opposed to the legalization of pot for recreational use but that does not negate the need for the state to consider changing other laws that may pertain to people arrested for or convicted of pot-related offenses over the years.

As explained by the Milwaukee Independent, a bill put forth before the state legislature could conceivably open currently closed doors to people with prior marijuana convictions on their records. Referred to as Assembly Bill 33, the bill calls for multiple changes to the state’s expungement process. Via an expungement, a person’s criminal record is erased, giving them broader access to housing, education, career and more opportunities. Many situations prevent a person with a criminal record from participating in programs or even renting a place to live.

According to The Journal Times, the bill would allow select non-violent Class H felonies to be removed from a person’s record. These include offenses relating to drug possession if in small quantities. Some retail theft offenses may also be in this grouping.

The current law only allows a record to be expunged if the offense occurred before a person turned 25 and if the expungement was requested when the person was originally sentenced. Those requirements would be eliminated under Assembly Bill 33. The new law also removes the requirement for a person to disclose the expungement on any job application going forward. Allowing people more opportunities to positively reintegrate into society is the goal of this bill.

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